Friday, September 29, 2006

House approves warrantless wiretapping

The House of Representatives has just approved the Electronic Surveillance Modernization Act, a bill that would legitimize warrantless electronic surveillance of people within the US who are suspected of having "foreign intelligence information."

HR 5825 authorizes the President to conduct electronic surveillance without a court order for up to a year. The only requirements are that the surveillance is meant to acquire the "contents of communications of foreign powers" and that the Attorney General follows certain safeguard procedures. In order to authorize this type of surveillance, all that the president has to do is have his Attorney General certify in writing that the surveillance meets legal criteria.

The government also requires Internet service providers and other telecommunications companies to assist with any valid request for such surveillance—and they must protect the secrecy of the request. The government agrees to compensate providers for their time and equipment. If companies object to surveillance on a particular target, they are allowed to challenge the legality of the directive before the secret FISA court, where a judge is required to rule on the merit of the directive within 24 hours of being assigned the case.

The Senate has a competing bill in the works which differs significantly from the House version, so the shape of the legislation won't become clear until the bills are hammered out in committee. If what emerges bears any resemblance to the House bill, however, the judiciary will be all but removed from oversight of this kind of surveillance. Congress will be the only group receiving even limited information about how the surveillance is being used—will they have the political will to call out any abuses that might arise?

Via Ars Technica and NY TImes

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Which cover is not like the others?

One reason why are we are misinformed Americans. Which one of these Newsweek covers is not like the others? Hmmm. I thought the Bush Administration's disinformation campagain was enough.

"Check out Newsweek's cover story this week. Actually, Newsweek has a different cover for each region of the world they publish in. If you go to the Newsweek International Edition home page, you can see the listings of the various covers for this week. Check them out and see if the one for the US doesn't stand out a little bit." Via AmericaBlog

Monday, September 25, 2006

War plans? Is an attack on Iran imminent?

By Dave Lindorff, The Nation

As reports circulate of a sharp debate within the White House over possible US military action against Iran and its nuclear enrichment facilities, The Nation has learned that the Bush Administration and the Pentagon have moved up the deployment of a major "strike group" of ships, including the nuclear aircraft carrier Eisenhower as well as a cruiser, destroyer, frigate, submarine escort and supply ship, to head for the Persian Gulf, just off Iran's western coast. This information follows a report in the current issue of Time magazine, both online and in print, that a group of ships capable of mining harbors has received orders to be ready to sail for the Persian Gulf by October 1.

As Time writes in its cover story, "What Would War Look Like?," evidence of the forward deployment of minesweepers and word that the chief of naval operations had asked for a reworking of old plans for mining Iranian harbors "suggest that a much discussed--but until now largely theoretical--prospect has become real: that the U.S. may be preparing for war with Iran."

According to Lieut. Mike Kafka, a spokesman at the headquarters of the Second Fleet, based in Norfolk, Virginia, the Eisenhower Strike Group, bristling with Tomahawk cruise missiles, has received orders to depart the United States in a little over a week. Other official sources in the public affairs office of the Navy Department at the Pentagon confirm that this powerful armada is scheduled to arrive off the coast of Iran on or around October 21. The Eisenhower had been in port at the Naval Station Norfolk for several years for refurbishing and refueling of its nuclear reactor; it had not been scheduled to depart for a new duty station until at least a month later, and possibly not till next spring. Family members, before the orders, had moved into the area and had until then expected to be with their sailor-spouses and parents in Virginia for some time yet. First word of the early dispatch of the "Ike Strike" group to the Persian Gulf region came from several angry officers on the ships involved, who contacted antiwar critics like retired Air Force Col. Sam Gardiner and complained that they were being sent to attack Iran without any order from the Congress.

"This is very serious," said Ray McGovern, a former CIA threat-assessment analyst who got early word of the Navy officers' complaints about the sudden deployment orders. (McGovern, a twenty-seven-year veteran of the CIA, resigned in 2002 in protest over what he said were Bush Administration pressures to exaggerate the threat posed by Iraq. He and other intelligence agency critics have formed a group called Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.)

Continue reading

Saturday, September 23, 2006

War in Iraq worsens terror, period.

An enlightening and well written article by Mark Mazzetti of The New York Times, which talks about how the war in Iraq has most definitely worsened the terror threat, Mazzetti writes:

"The classified National Intelligence Estimate attributes a more direct role to the Iraq war in fueling radicalism than that presented either in recent White House documents or in a report released Wednesday by the House Intelligence Committee, according to several officials in Washington involved in preparing the assessment or who have read the final document." - NY Times

Many people have been agreeing about the fact that terror is worse as a direct result of the "War on Terror" - it's like taking a small wound and contining to irritate and scratch it. It's going to get worse.

"The report “says that the Iraq war has made the overall terrorism problem worse,” said one American intelligence official." - NY Times

In an article, "The Phony War" by Robert Dreyfuss of Rolling Stone magazine, Dreyfuss brings up 5 main points about the "War on Terror" and what is wrong with it. In his third point of his article, "The Threat Has Gone Viral", he writes:

"By failing to "smoke out" bin Laden as promised, the president has given hope to a new generation of freelance terrorist cells, Islamist copycats and Al Qaeda wanna-be's. "We let them get away," says a retired CIA station chief. "We took a relatively centralized organization and turned it into a generalized virus. Before Afghanistan, we were facing somewhat of a unified threat. We now have the equivalent of a phantom that we're fighting."

The National Intelligence Council agrees: "The [National Intelligence Estimate] concludes that the radical Islamic movement has expanded from a core of Qaeda operatives and affiliated groups to include a new class of 'self-generating' cells." - NY Times

The war in Iraq has ultimately made the terrorism worse in many aspects. The terror net is now larger than ever and has spawned radicalist groups who have anger fueled by the Bush Administration's war and imperial ambitions.

The New York Times via Impolitical (Thanks!)

Friday, September 22, 2006

$70 billion more for Iraq/Afghanistan

Congress approved another $70 billion for Iraq and Afghanistan -- which should last til spring:

"House-Senate negotiators Thursday approved a new $70 billion infusion for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan as they wrapped up talks on a $447 billion Pentagon funding bill.

The additional war funds would bring the total approved by Congress for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan since Sept. 11, 2001, to more than $500 billion, with another installment likely to come next spring."

But those funds probably don't take in to account the deteriorating situation in both countries. There will not be a reduction in U.S. forces in Iraq and NATO is beggging for more resources in Afghanistan.

Congress allocates this money because there are U.S. soldiers in harms way and they want to show support for the troops. Unfortunately, that means giving Bush a blank check when he has no plan in either country. He's too busy politicking about terror to deal with the real terror threats. Bush shows the ultimate disrepect for American soldiers by keeping them in war zones without an end game in sight.

Reuters does a daily update on the realities of what's happening on the ground in Iraq. Might help if someone at the White House took a peek at these updates every now and then:

Military and Civilian deaths and Security Developments in Iraq*

According to current estimates, the cost of the Iraq War could exceed $700 billion. In current dollars, the Vietnam War cost U.S. taxpayers $600 billion. The bill also provides for a 2.2 percent pay increase for the military as President Bush requested in his February budget. Via Yahoo News

*Via AmericaBlog

U.N. expert: Iraq torture may be worse

Torture in Iraq may be worse now than it was under Saddam Hussein, with militias, terrorist groups and government forces disregarding rules on the humane treatment of prisoners, the U.N. anti-torture chief said Thursday.

Manfred Nowak, the U.N. special investigator on torture, made the remarks as he was presenting a report on detainee conditions at the U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay as well as to brief the U.N. Human Rights Council, the global body's top rights watchdog, on torture worldwide.

Reports from Iraq indicate that torture "is totally out of hand," he said. "The situation is so bad many people say it is worse than it has been in the times of Saddam Hussein." Full article.

And it's only going to get worse.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Bush Assassinated In 'Death Of a President'

Death of a President' directed by Gabriel Range, is a new film depicting President Bush's assasination and what follows after. The Toronto Festival jury has praised the film "for the audacity with which it distorts reality, to reveal a larger truth", and it was also given a prestegious award. Range said the film had recently signed a US distribution deal. The assasination scene was created by putting the President's face onto an actor with digital wizardry, shows him being gunned down just hours after driving past an anti-war demonstration while doing a talk in Chicago 2007.

The Republican Party in Texas has said 'Death of a President' is "shocking" and "disturbing" that a TV drama is to depict the assassination of US President Bush. A White House spokesman said of the programme: "We are not going to comment because it does not dignify a response." OF course the White House does see the significance of the film, just doesnt want people to know. Maybe they'll stop lying to us for a while? Or not.

CCTV now with loudspeakers

This is unbelievable - Britain’s first ‘talking’ CCTV cameras have arrived, well, CCTV cameras with loudspeakers next to them. The system allows control room operators who spot any illegal behavior to send out a verbal warning to the offender. Middlesbrough has fitted loudspeakers on seven of its 158 cameras in an experiment already being hailed as a success.

Middlesbrough has fitted loudspeakers on seven of its 158 cameras in an experiment already being hailed as a success.

Control room operators say phrases such as: 'Warning - you are being monitored by CCTV - Warning - you are in an alcohol-free zone, please refrain from drinking'; and Warning - your behaviour is being monitored by CCTV. It is being recorded and the police are attending.'

'It would appear that the offenders are the only ones who find the audio cameras intrusive. The vast majority of people welcome these cameras. 'Put it this way, we never have requests to remove them.' People are comfortable with this? Also, unbelievable. People submit to this like sheep and this is extremely unhealthy for people in this town to not be debating and questioning this.

“Orwell’s 1984 was a dire warning to ward off the totalitarianism of public monitoring authorities. This camera/speaker system is not ‘like’ Big Brother, it ‘is’ Big Brother incarnate,” says one American from Boston. A dire warning indeed. More via Ministry of Tech

U.S. holds AP photographer 5 mos, no charges

The U.S. military in Iraq has imprisoned an Associated Press photographer, Bilal Hussein, for five months, accusing him of being a security threat but never filing charges or permitting a public hearing.

Military officials said Bilal Hussein, an Iraqi citizen, was being held for "imperative reasons of security" under United Nations resolutions. AP executives said the news cooperative's review of Hussein's work did not find anything to indicate inappropriate contact with insurgents, and any evidence against him should be brought to the Iraqi criminal justice system.

"The vast majority of the 420 images show the aftermath or the results of the conflict — blown up houses, wounded people, dead people, street scenes."

He won a Pulitzer Prize for breaking news photography last year. With this in mind, we see that he is photgraphing scenes in Iraq that are potentially bad for the Bush Administrations's image. From this we can conclude why he has been held for so long but never charged with a crime.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

The 'American Way'

"The USA wouldn't be stuck in conflicts abroad if only we could stop believing that the American way is the best way." Exactly. In his recent article for AlterNet John Dolan couldn't be more right.

Excerpt from the article:
Montaigne tried to learn from the other cultures Europe was encountering around the world in the 1500s, rather than simply condemning them for all the ways in which they differed from Europe. He compared the cruelties of cannibal tribes with those of European "justice." His point was not that one culture was superior to the other, but that every human ever born finds it dangerously easy to revile the savagery of other tribes, but very difficult to see the brutalities of their homeland: "...while we quite rightly judge [the cannibals'] faults, we are blind to our own."

It is this nationalist psyche the majority of Americans have, that are sheltered from the rest of the world and brings conflict and irritation to other cultures. As Dolan states, "even if the [Iraq] war really was about liberation, it was an arrogant invasion born of the ancient belief that our tribe is the only one that knows how life should be lived." Precisely.

Read the full article.

How Republicans Hype Fear to Keep 1-Party Rule

In a series of columns and essays that renowned journalist and former presidential adviser Sidney Blumenthal wrote in the three years following the 2003 invasion of Iraq, a unifying theme began to emerge: that Bush, billed by himself and by many others as a conservative, is in fact a radical--more radical than any president in American history. In "How Bush Rules: Chronicles of a Radical Regime", Blumenthal provides a vivid account of the progression of Bush's radical style--from his reliance on one-party rule and his unwillingness to allow internal debate to his elevation of the power of the vice president.

Taking readers through pivotal events such as the hunt for Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and the rise of the foreign-policy neoconservatives. Foreign policy is one of Bush's key areas that he needs to succeed in his power struggle. However, people are catching on now, coming together and realizing to propaganda and lies that the american public is being subject to. Bush is trying to change the Geneva Conventions and the way we go to war - Department of Defense, more like "Department of Offense" these days.

"From the experience of the Bush disinformation campaign used to justify the invasion of Iraq the congressional Republicans have apparently learned that they must advance disinformation campaigns even more aggressively than before. What the Republicans have to fear is the absence of fear itself." Read the rest of Sidney Blumenthal's post at The Huffington Post.

Europe may meet with Iran without U.S.

European diplomats are considering a meeting with Iran on the sidelines of next week's U.N. General Assembly in hopes of de-escalating the standoff over Tehran's nuclear program - but the United States won't be getting an invitation.

I think this a very good approach to handling the situation because bringing the U.S. face to face with Iran at this point in time may cause even more tension and resulting frustration. The U.S. is accusing Iran of all these things there is no proof of, and the Bush Administration continues to pour fearful thoughts all over the public.

People need to realize here what the U.S. government is doing, like making dishonest statements about Iran, and trying to get the American public hyped up about a threat that does not exist and even if it does exis, there is no solid evidence to go on. There is a pattern here going back to the Bush Admin's pre-war Iraq ideas and agenda.

The Bush administration, which is pushing for U.N. sanctions against Iran, has said it will join European-led negotiations with Iran only if it stops its uranium enrichment work first.

Full article via Washington Post

Friday, September 15, 2006

The U.S. vs. John Lennon

'The U.S. vs. John Lennon is a new documentary on the life of John Lennon, with a focus on the time in his life when he transformed from a world class musician into an world class anti-war activist.

Check out The Nation's review of "The U.S. vs. John Lennon"

IAEA says U.S. report on Iran is 'dishonest'

A recent House of Representatives committee report on Iran's nuclear capability is "outrageous and dishonest" in trying to make a case that Tehran's program is geared toward making weapons, a senior official of the U.N. nuclear watchdog, IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency), has said.

Not surprising since the Bush administration has been dishonest on more than one occasion during the Iran situation.

The letter, obtained by The Associated Press on Thursday outside a 35-nation board meeting of the IAEA, says the report is false in saying Iran is making weapons-grade uranium at an experimental enrichment site, when it has in fact produced material only in small quantities that is far below the level that can be used in nuclear arms. Via Yahoo News

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Iran wanted peace, U.S. ignored them

The U.S. has refused to pledge not to attack Iran militarily, despite appeals by Europe for it to do so. Press reports have indicated that the Bush Administration has made extensive and detailed preparations for military strikes against Iran, while the Administration in its public statements has refused to rule out a US military attack.

Even though Iran offered peace with Israel in propsal to U.S. in 2003, the Bush administration obviously didn't care very much since they have their own agenda:

In 2003, Bush refused to allow any response to the Iranian offer to negotiate peace with Israel.

The Iranian proposal also offered to accept much tighter controls by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in exchange for "full access to peaceful nuclear technology". It offered "full cooperation with IAEA based on Iranian adoption of all relevant instruments".

As State Department spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters last January, the [Bush] administration didn’t then see “anything that indicates the Iranians are willing to engage in a serious diplomatic process” on the nuclear issue. A complete and totally disgusting fabrication of the truth! Why do we allow this?

The Iranian threat to "wipe Israel off the map" has been a major propaganda theme of the Bush administration for months.

Another unnecessary war could accelerate a cycle of warfare and terror that could plague the world for many years to come. A former official of the International Atomic Energy Agency told reporter Seymour Hersh: “there’s nothing the Iranians could do that would result in a positive outcome. American diplomacy does not allow for it.”

Congress and the media should start to examine and discuss the real reasons for this stubborn rejection of diplomacy, which is rooted in the Bush administration’s aggressive politico-military and imperalistic aims toward Iran and the broader Middle East.

»Tell Congress to oppose President Bush's threats to attack Iran.

Also read "Burnt Offering" article by Gareth Porter

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Mission Failed: The Taliban Resurgence

With Afghan Opium crops soaring,the highest ever, it's no mystery why the Taliban is resurging in an area called Waziristan on the northwest Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

Troops fighting in Afghanistan face about as much danger as troops in Iraq, says The New York Times . Their investigation concludes that Afghanistan has become "a symbol of failure."

CBS reporter, Lara Logan, has the opportunity to travel deep into Taliban territory after 6 months of negotiations with Taliban leaders.

Logan is taken to a place with scores of Taliban fighters. The fighters are proud to show that they have taken back territory that U.S. forces occupied just 2 years ago.

The following video contains reports from CNN and CBS News.

The International Herald Tribune says,"The war seems, to many fighting it, to have been obscured by the glare of attention on the conflict in Iraq and undercut by the resources it has sapped from this mission."

Europe and Iran Report Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the EU said Sunday that they had made progress in the search for a compromise to avert possible UN sanctions over Iran’s nuclear program. "The meetings … have been productive," said Javier Solana, the EU’s foreign policy chief, after talks with Ali Larijani, Iran’s top nuclear negotiator. "We have clarified some of the misunderstandings that existed before." He added that he wanted to continue the negotiations. "We have made progress," he said. "We want to continue that line, and we are going to meet next week." Larijani said "many misunderstandings had been removed."

The cautious-but-positive tone of the statements from Solana and Larijani contrasted sharply with the US position outlined last week by Nicholas Burns, the under secretary of state for political affairs.

Reuters reported Sunday that Larijani had said Iran would be willing to consider a two-month moratorium on its uranium-enrichment program, but other Iranian officials denied that. Although both sides were unwilling to give many details about the talks, there were suggestions that Iran might be willing to suspend its uranium-enrichment program if negotiations on the package were to start. The US, however, might not accept the idea. NY Times

Will the Bush Admin. attack Iran next?

The Bush administration has already taken a crucial step in weaking Iran by blocking a major Iranian bank. Stuart Levey, the U.S. Treasury's under-secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence is already in Europe for talks this week on how to further limit Iran’s access to the global financial system. This must not happen! This is one of the reasons why Iraq became a place of unrest, the sanctions and the twisted Foreign Policy of the Bush administration.

As Noam Chomsky states, "There are ways to mitigate and probably end these crises. The first is to call off the very credible US and Israeli threats that virtually urge Iran to develop nuclear weapons as a deterrent."

Historical facts are at play here and cannot be disputed.

"Iranians are surely not as willing as the West to discard history to the rubbish heap. They know that the United States, along with its allies, has been tormenting Iranians for more than 50 years, ever since a US-UK military coup overthrew the parliamentary government and installed the Shah, who ruled with an iron hand until a popular uprising expelled him in 1979." says Chomsky. Read full article.

The Bush Administration has talked seriously about the possibility of military strikes against Iran, which could dramatically escalate the level of violence in the region, already high. These threats have undermined real negotiations on Iran's nuclear program. As the Washington Post reported Friday, "The package presented to the [UN Security Council] Thursday provides no explicit assurances Tehran has sought to bar U.S. military strikes on its territory…President Bush…has resisted European appeals to provide Iran with such security assurances, insisting that the military option not be taken off the table." These threats also increase the likelihood of a wider war, a likelihood that seems to increase each day.

Maintaining the threat of a military attack against Iran not only undermines negotiations but also undermines the international regime of nuclear nonproliferation and nuclear inspections, which is based on multilateral cooperation, not unilateral force. Iran is at least 5 to 10 years away from acquiring a nuclear weapon, were it to attempt to do so. There is no crisis justifying the threat of military force against Iran.

Congress should pressure the Bush Administration to take the "military option" of attacking Iran off the table.

We must be pro active and rule out attacks against Iran before it is too late!

Bush Admin. blacklists major Iranian bank

The Bush administration has blacklisted one of Iran's biggest banks, Bank Saderat, alleging that it is used to transfer money to terrorist organizations.

Stuart Levey, the Treasury's under-secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence said the bank had been blacklisted because "this bank, which has approximately 3,400 branch offices, is used by the government of Iran to transfer money to terrorist organisations."

According to Mr Levy, the bank had facilitated the transfer of hundreds of millions of dollars to the Lebanese militant group, Hezbollah, and what he called other terrorist organisations, every year. Via

We need to stop the U.S. from putting sanctions on Iran, it will force the Iranian people to depend on the Iranian government, making things worse of course. Not to mention the fact that if economic sanctions are imposed on Iran, it may cause 10,000 Germans to lose their jobs.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Examining the U.S. as a Failed State

In his new book Failed States, Noam Chomsky, the world's foremost critic of U.S. foreign policy exposes the hollow promises of democracy in U.S. actions abroad -- and at home.

The United States has repeatedly asserted its right to intervene militarily against "failed states" around the globe. In this much-anticipated follow-up to his international bestseller Hegemony or Survival, Noam Chomsky turns the tables, showing how the United States itself shares features with other failed states -- and therefore is increasingly a danger to its own people and the world.

Failed states, Chomsky writes, are those that are unable or unwilling "to protect their citizens from violence and perhaps even destruction" and "regard themselves as beyond the reach of domestic or international law." Though they have have democratic forms, Chomsky notes, failed states suffer from a serious "democratic deficit" that deprives their democratic institutions of real substance. Exploring the latest development in U.S. foreign and domestic policy, Chomsky reveals Washington's plans to further militarize the planet, greatly increasing the risks of nuclear war; assesses the dangerous consequences of the occupation of Iraq, which has fueled global outrage at the United States; documents Washington's self-exemption from international norms. Including the UN Charter and the Geneva Conventions, the foundations of contemporary international law, and examines how the U.S. electoral system is designed to eliminate genuine political alternatives, impeding any meaningful democracy.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Bush 'new found interest' in bin Laden

Today, the Democratic National Committee released a new video showing the Bush Administration's willingness to use fear and smear tactics to gain political advantage in a tough election year. Specifically, after years of hardly mentioning Osama bin Laden, saying that "he wasn't that concerned about him," and closing down the CIA office charged with his capture, President Bush seemed to have a new found interest, citing the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks seventeen different times in a speech this week.


Saddam saw al-Qaeda as threat

Saddam Hussein regarded al-Qaida as a threat rather than a possible ally, a Senate report says, contradicting assertions President Bush has used to build support for the war in
Iraq. The report also newly faults intelligence gathering in the lead-up to the 2003 invasion.

Released Friday, the report discloses for the first time an October 2005
CIA assessment that prior to the war Saddam's government "did not have a relationship, harbor or turn a blind eye toward" al-Qaida operative Abu Musab al-Zarqawi or his associates.

As recently as an Aug. 21 news conference, Bush said people should "imagine a world in which you had Saddam Hussein" with the capacity to make weapons of mass destruction and "who had relations with Zarqawi."

Via Yahoo News

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Bush and Saddam Should Both Stand Trial, Says Nuremberg Prosecutor

Quite ironic how Bush compared al Qaeda to Nazis. Read on. A chief prosecutor of Nazi war crimes at Nuremberg has said George W. Bush should be tried for war crimes along with Saddam Hussein. Benjamin Ferencz, who secured convictions for 22 Nazi officers for their work in orchestrating the death squads that killed more than 1 million people, told OneWorld both Bush and Saddam should be tried for starting "aggressive" wars--Saddam for his 1990 attack on Kuwait and Bush for his 2003 invasion of Iraq.

"Nuremberg declared that aggressive war is the supreme international crime," the 87-year-old Ferencz told OneWorld from his home in New York. He said the United Nations charter, which was written after the carnage of World War II, contains a provision that no nation can use armed force without the permission of the UN Security Council.

Ferencz said that after Nuremberg the international community realized that every war results in violations by both sides, meaning the primary objective should be preventing any war from occurring in the first place.

He said the atrocities of the Iraq war--from the Abu Ghraib prison scandal and the massacre of dozens of civilians by U.S. forces in Haditha to the high number of civilian casualties caused by insurgent car bombs--were highly predictable at the start of the war.

Full Article at OneWorld US

Disapproval of Bush increases in U.S.

An annual transatlantic survey released Wednesday by Transatlantic Trends had some interesting results. For the first time in its five-year history — shows more Americans disapproving (58%) than approving (40%) of President Bush’s handling of international affairs. That brings the U.S. much closer to reaching the Europeans levels of disapproving (77%) than approving (37%) of President Bush’s handling of international affairs.

More Key Findings

Gingrich urges U.S. to "get tough" with Iran

In an article via FOX News, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich says it's time for the United States to "get tough" with Iran's Islamic theocracy. Speaking before a conservative public policy group Wednesday, Gingrich said Americans should take Iranian leaders'threats seriously, before they acquire nuclear weapons.

However, the threat of a military attack against Iran not only undermines negotiations but also undermines the international regime of nuclear nonproliferation and nuclear inspections, which is based on multilateral cooperation, not unilateral force. Iran is at least a 5-8 years away from acquiring a nuclear weapon, were it to attempt to do so. There is no crisis justifying the threat of military force against Iran.

Gingrich goes on to say, "We have real enemies and they would like to kill us." I couldn't agree with you more, seeing how 30% of Europe says the U.S. is the greatest threat to global stability, and second in line is Iran.

Gingrich also said the United States is paying for former President Clinton's foreign policies, which he said gave Americans"eight years of appeasing the world and provided an opportunity for Osama bin Laden to bomb two U.S. embassies and the USS Cole."

Mr. Gingrich fails to realize that Clinton didn't call other world leaders names or attempt to scare the American public into making irrational decisions. That's one of the main reasons we had peace during the Clinton Administration.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Bush to Kill War Crimes Act

Bush officials have not acknowledged that one of their real motives for gutting the War Crimes Act is to protect themselves from being prosecuted for their own crimes. Bush again using his position of power to protect his closest friends.

The Bush Administration's legislation would remove the prohibition on "outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment."

Gutting the War Crimes Act would also leave the military "bad apples" at the bottom subject to prosecution but would let the civilian "bad apples" at the top evade all responsibility.

As a letter signed by sixteen members of Congress recently said, such legislation "would harm the reputation of the United States as a leader promoting and protecting human rights." What would be more deserving of scorn than a country that lets potential war-crime defendants repeal the very law under which they might be prosecuted? Read the full article at The Nation

How can we stop changes from being made to the War Crimes Act? Take Action

Al Qaeda's ‘No. 2’ in Iraq Arrested 2 Months Ago

The arrest of al-Qaida's 'number 2' in Iraq actually took place in June 19, and not a few days ago as originally announced. Now we should question the actual impact the capture will have on the group, which doesn’t appear to have lost any of its capabilities since June, when it also lost its leader, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

So very interesting. What else happened in the past, but we still don't know?

Full Article at Yahoo! News

Europeans See U.S. as Threat to Global Stability

europeAdults in five European nations express reservations about the role of the U.S. in world affairs, according to a poll by Harris Interactive published in the Financial Times.

30% of respondents believe the U.S. is the greatest threat to global stability. Iran is second on the list with 23%, followed by China with 15%, Iraq with 14%, North Korea with 8%, and Russia with 2%.

In Spain, 44% of respondents place the U.S. as the main perceived threat. 36 per cent of respondents in Britain—and 28 per cent of respondents in France—feel the same way. In Italy, Iran was the first country on the list with 31%. The U.S. and Iran are tied with 24 per cent in Germany’s sample. Via Angus Reid

In Britain alone, 36% said America is the biggest threat to global stability. HELLO?! Shouldn't this be some sort of clue to the Bush Administration? Then there is how the majority of the U.S. feels about the loss of American lives in Iraq.

Real Time with Bill Maher

Real Time with Bill Maher is a completely necessary and hilarious show that airs on HBO every Friday at 11pm/10c. You can also get the podcasts and listen to previous episodes. He also adds "New Rules" which are quite funny, like this one - New Rule: Stop whining about the French. It takes a lot of guts to stand up to the Bush administration and that's more than I can say about the Democrats!

Watch this intro skit (The New NSAT&TBC) poking from "Real Time with Bill Maher":


Progresswear offers t-shirts, buttons and bumper stickers and will soon be offering a selection of posters and limited edition prints by some of the foremost designers in the country. They will also be adding more themes and styles to our clothing line soon.

Progresswear was founded by a painter and advertising refugee who was frustrated by the weak messages and unprofessional design of too much of what he encountered coming from the left of center. During that period he created a series of graphic quips which circulated far and wide. After hearing for the 1,000th time that he should turn them into t-shirts he decided to do just that.

Progresswear will be donating a percentage of its after tax profits to a variety of progressive causes. The groups will be chosen from a variety of organizations in the areas of the environment, women's issues, education, voters rights, peace, civil rights, civil liberties, economic justice and first amendment issues.

5 Yrs. after 9/11, Dramatic Partisan Split

A 58% majority of the U.S. says the Iraq War has not been worth the loss of American lives, while 36% say it has. Also, 65% of Republicans think, wrongly, that there was a connection between Saddam Hussein and the 9/11 attacks. Zogby Poll Via AMERICAblog

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Bush calls Iran leaders "tyrants"

U.S. President George W. Bush has called Iran's leaders "tyrants" as dangerous as Al-Qaeda terrorists and said they must not be allowed to get nuclear weapons -- "the tools of mass murder." AFP

Just what the world needs, more fuel for the Iran fire that is already blazing. What's better than edgy 'world leaders', who have weapons and force at their disposal, playing kindergarten name-calling games? Anything.

Bush is setting the stage and positioning his pawns one statement at a time. Scaring people into believing that their lives are in danger. The Bush administration makes the Iranian leader more powerful. There is no doubt about this because the U.S. has a history of "painting its enemies 10 feet tall and crazy." And there was the case of Saddam Hussein's capabilities. Saddam, we were assured in 2003, had nuclear weapons and because he was a madman, he would use them.

10 More Huge War Profiteers

Halliburton has become synonymous with war profiteering, but there are many other greedy companies. The top three war profiteering companies are: 1.) CACI, 2.) Titan (admitted to funnelling more than $2m into the 2001 re-election campaign of President Mathieu Kerekou in W. Africa) and 3.) Bechtel.

Read about the rest of the top 10 war profiteering companies at AlterNet.

Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers

Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers is the story of what happens to everyday Americans when corporations go to war. Director Robert Greenwald (Outfoxed) of Brave New Films, takes you inside the lives of soldiers, truck drivers, widows and children who have been changed forever as a result of profiteering in the reconstruction of Iraq.

Iraq for Sale uncovers the connections between private corporations making a killing in Iraq and the decision makers who allow them to do so. One of the biggest war profiteers is Halliburton. Halliburton, which was formerly run by Vice President Dick Cheney, is a huge presence in Iraq providing construction and petroleum services. Halliburton subsidiary KBR got $12 billion worth of exclusive contracts for work in Iraq. But even more shocking is how KBR spent some of the money. Check out "The Spoils of War" By MICHAEL SHNAYERSON (Vanity Fair).

Watch Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers (on DVD Sept. 26) trailer:

Blood Money: Wasted Billions

It was supposed to be quick and easy. The Bush Administration even promised that it wouldn't cost American taxpayers a thing-Iraqi oil revenues would pay for it all. But billions and billions of dollars (over $312 Billion to date), and thousands of lives (2,794), later, the Iraqi reconstruction is an undeniable failure. Iraq pumps out less oil now than it did under Saddam. At best, Iraqis average all of twelve hours a day of electricity. American soldiers lack body armor and adequate protection for their motor vehicles.

As Los Angeles Times journalist T. Christian Miller reveals in his book, Blood Money: Wasted Billions, Lost Lives, and Corporate Greed in Iraq, the Bush Administration has fatally undermined the war effort and our soldiers by handing out mountains of cash not to the best companies for the reconstruction effort, but to buddies, cronies, relatives and political hacks-some of whom have simply taken the money and run with it.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Docudrama Blames Clinton For 9/11, Praises Bush

On Sunday, September 10 and Monday, September 11 from 8pm-11pm, ABC will air a new “docudrama” called “The Path to 9/11.”

Salon's review says,

"Condoleezza Rice gets that fated memo about planes flying into buildings, and makes it very clear to anyone who’ll listen just how concerned President Bush is about these terrorist threats — despite the fact that we’re given little concrete evidence of the president’s concern or interest in taking action. Maybe my memory fails me, but the only person I remember talking about Osama bin Laden back in 1998 was President Clinton, while the current anti-terrorist stalwarts worked the country into a frenzy over what? Blow jobs. In the end, “The Path to 9/11″ feels like an excruciatingly long, winding and deceptive path, indeed."

The director of the film, David Cunningham, is already backtracking about its accuracy, saying “this is not a documentary.”

Via Think Progress

Bush Admin. Makes Iranian Prez More Powerful

Iran's President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has gone from being an obscure and not-so-powerful politician to a central player in the Mideast, simply by goading the United States.

"Washington has a long habit of painting its enemies 10 feet tall and crazy. During the cold war, many hawks argued that the Soviet Union could not be deterred because the Kremlin was evil and irrational. The great debate in the 1970s was between the CIA's wimpy estimate of Soviet military power and the neoconservatives' more nightmarish scenario. The reality turned out to be that even the CIA's lowest estimates of Soviet power were a gross exaggeration. During the 1990s, influential commentators and politicians most prominently the Cox Commission doubled the estimates of China's military spending, using largely bogus calculations. And then there was the case of Saddam Hussein's capabilities. Saddam, we were assured in 2003, had nuclear weapons and because he was a madman, he would use them."

Full Article via MSNBC

U.S. deaths in Iraq, war on terror surpass 9/11 toll

The announcement Sunday of four more U.S. military deaths in Iraq raises the death toll to 2,974 for U.S. military service members in Iraq and in what the Bush administration calls the "war on terror".

The 9/11 attack killed 2,973 people, including Americans and foreign nationals but excluding the terrorists. The 9/11 death toll was calculated by CNN. Full article via CNN

Chinese director 'given film ban'

Director Lou Ye has been banned from making films in China for five years for submitting an entry for the Cannes festival without government approval. Lou entered romance Summer Palace for competition without clearing it with China's censors, state media reported.

The film, which features explicit sex scenes, takes place around the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989. Lou said at Cannes in June that he would consider changing the film's content so it could be seen in China. Lou Ye won the main prize at the Rotterdam Film Festival in 2000. The news agency reported that the film would be confiscated along with any income made from it. Via BBC

Completely ridiculous. China is WAY out of line and so is any company or organization that gives in to their ultra suppressive demands. Censoring everything from internet search results (which should be left up to the computer's owner) and films. And this director is going to give into it as stated above, "consider changing the film's content so it could be seen in China."

Fox News forced employees to push 'right wing'

The documentary "Outfoxed", by Robert Greenwald, examines how media empires, led by Rupert Murdoch's Fox News, have been running a "race to the bottom" in television news. This film provides an in-depth look at Fox News and the dangers of ever-enlarging corporations taking control of the public's right to know.

The film explores Murdoch's burgeoning kingdom and the impact on society when a broad swath of media is controlled by one person. Media experts provide context and guidance for the story of Fox News and its effect on society.

This documentary also reveals the secrets of Former Fox news producers, reporters, bookers and writers who expose what it's like to work for Fox News. These former Fox employees talk about how they were forced to push a "right-wing" point of view or risk their jobs. Some have even chosen to remain anonymous in order to protect their current livelihoods. As one employee said "There's no sense of integrity as far as having a line that can't be crossed."

Interviews licensed by Brave New Films for remixing: Creative Commons Sampling Plus (

Official Site: